Vanuatu Islands

Discover best and most popular islands in Vanuatu

Large Vanuatu islands like Efate and Espiritu Santo have become destinations unto themselves. But there is a plethora of other islands in Vanuatu worth exploring in this 80+ island archipelago. These can be usually explored by air (via island hopping domestic flights) and day and night cruises.

Each of Vanuatu islands is a beautiful paradise just waiting to be explored. Some of the most popular islands are Moso island with Havanna Harbour, Tanna island with Mt Yasur volcano, and Santo island with diving wrecks.

  Popular Vanuatu Islands
Major Islands of Vanuatu

Major Islands of Vanuatu

As one of the most diverse island nations in the South Pacific region, Vanuatu offers a multitude of cultural experiences. Out of 83 islands, 65 Vanuatu islands are inhabited. We have selected six of the best known, major islands of Vanuatu, for you to explore.

Ambae Island

Ambae Island

This small island off the large Santo island served as the inspiration for James Michener's famous book, The Tales of South Pacific. It's a great place for hiking and walking, whose close proximity to Santo makes is an easily accessible island destination.

Ambrym Island

This volcanic island has long been one of the star islands in Vanuatu archipelago with its two volcanoes - Mt. Benbow and Mt. Marum. The island is also famous for sorcery and magic, as well as woodcarving and Rom dances.

Efate Island

Efate Island

At first named Sandwich island (after Lord Sandwich) by Captain James Cook, Efate was probably settled some 3,500 years ago by Lapita people. They named it Efate, meaning 'a place where we will settle'. It's the main Vanuatu island, home to Port Vila capital.

Epi Island

This small, quiet, lush garden island is the perfect place for families, hikers and backpackers. The activities on the island include surfing and snorkeling, as well as walking tours. You can also visit Nikaura's Marine Protected Area.

Erromango Island

This beautiful, large island was once home to great, lush Sandalwood forests and Kauri trees, for which was unfortunately heavily exploited. Erromango island is now adventurer's dream come true with caves and hiking trails.

Pele Island

Pele Island

Experience true Vanuatu by taking Pele Island Day Tour, where you can enjoy a day in your own tropical island paradise. Go for a swim at the white sand beach and go snorkeling at the island's spectacular coral reef, as part of your day tour.

Pentecost Island

Pentecost Island

The island was named by Captain Cook in 1774, after the Day of Pentecost, when it was at first sighted. The island is famous for its land diving ceremony, or Naghol (as it's known locally), held annually in April and May, for a plentiful yam harvest.

Espiritu Santo Island

The largest of Vanuatu islands, Espiritu Santo Island, is best known for its scuba diving, which includes WWII shipwreck the President Coolidge. Other activities on the island include snorkeling, sailing, and hiking. It's home to Luganville town.

Other Vanuatu Islands

Here are some more islands of Vanuatu worth mentioning:

Aneityum Island - Located at the southernmost end of Vanuatu islands archipelago. It's also known as Anatom or Keamu. Home to two volanoes, Aneityum is accessed via an airstrip on it neighbouring tiny Inyeug island.

Emae Island - Belonging to the Shepherds Island group, Emae island is one of the two larger islands in the group. It is seldom visited by travellers, but the nearby Cook Reef is popular diving destination. Great for those who enjoy exploring in peace.

Inyeug Island - This tiny island is located near the southern end of Aneityum island. Known as Mystery island, it serves as the main access point to Aneityum via twice-a-week Vanair flights from Port Vila via Tanna island.

Lelepa Island - Located just off the western side of Efate island, Lelepa island is close to the Havannah Port, at Samoa Point. Havannah is also the closest point where you can find holiday accommodation, if you wish to visit Lelepa island. The island's day tours are also organized from Havannah.

Malekula Island - For unspoiled beauty and an incredible array of history and culture, you must visit Malekula island. The local islanders still retain many of their original customs, including dress and oral history. This is a favored destination by anthropologists.

Nguna Island - As another of the small, but popular Vanuatu islands, Nguna island has a number of interesting features and attractions, which bring visitors here. There are two extinct volcanoes, stunning coral gardens, and marine protected area.

A Ni-Vanuatu man net fishing from the beach
Hideaway island, which includes Hideaway Island Resort, is one of many
small islands
that surround Efate island, Vanuatu's main administrative island.

The above are but a handful of Vanuatu islands, best known and most popular. But the regular Vanuatu visitors who like exploring the islands know of many more islands.

Don’t hesitate to reserve a trip to these beautiful islands for your next holiday. Even if it seems as though it’s too late for you to make a proper flight reservation, there are online resources that allow you to search last minute deals to Vanuatu. If you don’t look, you’ll never what you might have passed up. Plus, the process is not only quick and easy, but it doesn’t cost a cent to simply see what’s available. Experience all the aforementioned excitement and more with a few clicks of the mouse.